With the lack of an agreement on expanding the postseason for 2020 and beyond, the Los Angeles Angels are projected to miss the playoffs again.
When we last spoke of ZiPS and playoff chances, the Los Angeles Angels had a dim outlook in terms of making the postseason. At that time, things were still being estimated based on the owners’ original proposal of 50 games. However, that proposal also included the potential of an expanded playoff structure, one that would have seen four wild card teams and three division winners.
Of course, that proposal ultimately failed, as Major League Baseball and the MLBPA failed to come to an agreement that would have been mutually beneficial to both sides. As such, the 2020 season will be played under the original postseason structure, with two wild cards and three division winners. However, while there are now two fewer playoff spots to fill, the regular season is now also going to be 60 games rather than 50.
So where does that leave the Angels?
During the last ZiPS projection, the Angels were on the outside looking in on the postseason. The team had a 33.8% chance of making the playoffs, with a 17.7% chance of winning the division and a 16.2% chance of taking a Wild Card slot. Under the latest projections from Dan Szymbolski at FanGraphs, that hasn’t changed much.
Sitting in the middle of the pack in terms of strength of schedule (.496), the Angels are expected to walk a similar path to what they have for the last several seasons; a good team that isn’t great that sits among the middle-tier teams. Just as in the previous projections, the Halos are forecast to finish the regular season at .500 with a 30-30 record.
In terms of postseason chances, that means the team will be limited to just a 32.4% chance to make the postseason. In regards to division and wild card chances, that breaks down to 16.6% and 15.8% respectively. As for a World Series title, ZiPS only gives the team a 2.9% chance of taking home the trophy.
Does that mean all is lost already? Of course not. Projections are just that. They cannot forecast injuries. They cannot predict whether a player slumps or goes on a hot streak. They cannot predict whether everything comes together or everything falls apart. All of those things could factor both positively or negatively for a team in the Angels’ position, with the Halos dependent upon their pitching taking a step forward.
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Outside of the predictions, how do you, the fans, feel about the Angels’ chances in 2020?